WoW Wednesday: Twelve Things I Found Flying Around the Coasts of Pandaria

Pandaria might just be my favourite expansion when it comes to visuals. I mean, look at this:


This is serene as fuck! I had something similar to this as my desktop background for a while. You really get the feeling that Blizzard went all out trying to create something beautiful, and if you compare it to earlier expansions your jaw should drop by how far graphics technology has come in only, what, no even ten years.

And because the guys at Blizzard have a sense of humour, they also keep adding funny little bits into the game. Because I already did one of these lists for Draenor, today you’re getting the previous expansion, Pandaria. Look, I even prettied myself up for you with my fall gear:



So I did the math and going through my old screenshots trying to find the right ones was actually taking up more time than just doing the tour again, so that’s what I did. See how nice I am? Here’s some things and places where quests don’t necessarily lead you. All along the coastline. Enjoy!

1. This reference to Up north of Jade Forest

 I mean…


There’s also this Pandaren called Kar:


And this grummle with a huge backpack:


2. Sri-La

Maybe this shouldn’t be part of this list because I think there was actually a quest leading there,  but on the off chance that someone missed a quest or two, here it is anyway. This is a small Pandaran village off the coast of Jade Forest and you’ll know by the wreckage of Horde and Alliance ships all around that their peaceful life has just taken an unexpected turn.


The good people here enjoy fishing:


Lots of fishing:


And now there’s interesting Goblin wreckage to look at while fishing (you can tell it’s a Goblin zeppelin because it’s crashed):


3. This pandaren fisher who doesn’t like Alliance

This looks cosy, doesn’t it? Not if you’re Alliance, because this fella right here will start whacking you with his fishing rod:


4. This little Pandaren fisher village in Krasarang Wilds:


There’s this little guy with his giant goldfish:


And this kid who looks exactly like the other kid who wants to be a shaman when he grows up:


Maybe they’re twins?

And this kid flying a kite:


5. Where Serpent’s Spine meets the sea:


And from the other side…



6. This song reference:

This is a little pandaren called Adele:


She’s rolling around a place called Widening Deep. Get it yet?

7. A big unfriendly kraken:


There is actually a quest where you have to beat this thing. Apparently though, it doesn’t die, because it’s still floating around near the northern coast of Townlong Steppes, so if you’re planning on going for a swim there… don’t.

Generally swimming is a bad idea, there are big evil things in the water everywhere:


8. This little cave north-west of Kun Lai Summit:


Oh, what could be in there?


Huh? A hozen giving a drum solo? On four bongos? I mean, there’s also bones…


But mostly just this guy.

9. This hut containing a tuskarr and a hozen:


 The tuskarr is named Wally. So… does that mean I found Wally?


10. This flying tortoise:


If you /wave at it, it will follow you for a bit, but it’s pretty slow.


11. This woman swimming laps north of Kun Lai:


And her enthusiastic pandaren trainer:


12. The Secret Aerie:

Tucked between Kun Lai and Jade Forest you’ll find a little pandaren mountain village:


Hard working pandaren building boats, because everyone on Pandaria is always somehow hammering on a boat:


Arguing about pugs:


Training falcons:


This woman hacking on fish bones (what even?):


This seems to be the boss:


…okay then.

 And that’s all from this expansion. Next week, we’ll look at skeletons. Jup. Lotsa skeletons.


Nine Reasons I Still Haven’t Quit WoW

It’s been a long, long week and all I want to is kick back with a cup of tea and kill something. My poor little neglected mage is making big soulful eyes at me and I cave, log in, and… and now what?

Okay, so… admittedly, my Warlords of Draenor enthusiasm faded with the speed of a raid boss nerf after every .1 patch update. And we started out so well! New world, check. New enemies, check. Housing, oh my god, finally, check. New pets, check. (What? There’s no such thing as too many pets.) And then the honeymoon stage ended and I was faced with the terrible reality of relationships and MMOs alike: bae ain’t what it used to be.

Maybe it’s not you, Blizzard, maybe it’s me. After all, I’ve been playing since BC. I’ve seen the best of times. I’ve seen the worst of times. You had me go from “What the hell, pandas?!” to “Fuck yeah, pandas!”, and we had such great times, but… times change. People change. Games change. You know what, maybe it’s you after all.

1. I’m more emotionally attached to my characters than is healthy.

Toons are people, too! Somehow, over the years, they accumulated so much personality it’s kind of hard to believe I wasn’t put in a mental institution yet. Or on an RP server. (No, seriously, why don’t I RP? Oh, right, no one can deal with my humour. Or my troll priest’s Jamaican accent.) They all have their own idiosyncrasies and background stories and fanfiction and funny little quirks, not to mention the heavily varied contents of their inventory. (So. Much. Stuff. I still carry around some quest items from long-forgotten and now non-existent BC era quests that my noob self was just too stupid to complete.) Like, my Human mage is very much the hero type, while my Forsaken warlock has a bit of a mischievous streak and is absolutely devoted to her little felhunter. (What? Felhunters are cute, shut up.) Then there’s the Nightelf boomkin who is trying to unify society’s pressure on Elves to look sexy and feminine with her love for RAW MOONFIRE POWER which only comes in the shape of a big fat owl with antlers (it’s a tough life).

…yeah, I may have a problem.

2. Dora the Explorer Syndrome

There are roughly 27 GB worth of screenshots on my hard drive. No matter the content, Blizzard always makes good landscapes. I’m a WoW landscape nerd. I’m also into discovering shit. I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys running literally around continents. The first thing I did when Cataclysm was announced was a last screenshot tour through my belovéd Azeroth. It was then that I discovered – dun dun DUUUUNNN – the original Quel’Thalas which got scratched and replaced by Eversong Forest in BC. You can’t go there anymore because since Cata there’s an invisible wall because gods forbid you see the three and a half Nightelves ruins. Okay, so it was a little anti-climatic in hindsight, but hey, I discovered something! Also, where they put Uldum now, pre-Cata there used to be a tiny Tauren village with a gigantic peace pipe. Also, did you know that at a certain point in Pandaria there’s a flying ghost turtle just chilling and if you wave at it, it’s accompanying you for a bit? Also also, if you go to Outlands Nagrand and fly up just over Throne of the Elements, there is a hut containing a troll woman and lots of children. And bubbling soup cauldrons. Dun dun DUUUUUNNN!

Also also also, there’s something weird going on in Stratholme.

3. Who’s gonna feed all my widdle pets?!

I can’t have pets in real life. So to (over-) compensate I own over 700 pets in WoW. I can’t help it! They’re so cute! They have big eyes and big paws and cute deadly fangs! I’m still waiting for Blizzard to install a cuddle feature because goddamnit! You can’t just give me a cutie like this and then tell me I can’t hug it:


I may or may not have been caught hugging my screen more times than I’m comfortable admitting.

Look at it! It’s a corgi made of lava! Isn’t this the cutest thing to ever drag it’s fiery butt across the floor?

And I feel bad for them, because there’s so many of them I always feel like I’m neglecting one or the other. I also have clear favourites. I’m such a bad pet mom. Luckily they don’t actually need feeding.

4. There’s always something to do… even if it’s ridiculously work-intensive.

It’s not like there is literally nothing to do in WoD. You can grind rep for about a dozen factions. You can earn the achievement that allows you to use your long neglected flying mounts again. You can be all about your base (all about that base, ’bout that base, more missions! I’m all about that base, ’bout that base, more buildings!) and optimize everything and command your subordinates around all commander-y. You can earn what feels like 752 achievements in dungeons and raids alone. However, everything takes time. So much time. So much damn time I can see people debating with themselves whether or not to quit their jobs and move into a hovel near a coffee shop for the free wifi so they can do alllll those things that theoretically could be done.

What am I doing? Waiting for pet battle quests that I like doing so I can buy moar pets! Oh, and fishing. Lots o’ fishing.

5. Bring on the NPCs!

Not only am I too emotionally involved with my own characters, I’m also too into NPCs. I love Our Lady of the Forsaken and if anything happens to her in the upcoming expansion a rather large delivery of very smelly lutefisk may or may not materialise outside of Blizzard HQ. Better yet, in their air conditioning vents. I’m even more into Jaina since she snapped and went crazy on the Horde’s asses in Dalaran. I will absolutely never forgive Blizzard for moving Tirion Fordring and his horse out of Plaguelands, I liked visiting the guy on his little defunct farm! Then there’s all my furry panda friends in Halfhill, yes, I still go there. Sometimes I even do daily quests for them because well, we have so much history! Yes, I’ll water your fields. Yes, even though it is literally raining right now. And it has literally rained yesterday. For old times sake. (Also, there’s a guy called Gai Lan and I just found out that that’s actually a kind of broccoli. I may or may not have laughed for five minutes straight.)

6. “Stuck with you”

Okay, admittedly not a great reason to keep a relationship going, but… we’ve been together so long now, WoW and me! Like… we got the same phone number, all the same friends, the same address, you know, it’s just what happens when you’re together a really long time, the fire just slowly fizzles out, not least because the mage fire skill tree has a long history of getting nerfed and it’s supremely annoying each time. Like, what am I supposed to do, spec frost or – shudder – arcane?! Thankfully, with the higher gear towards the end of each expansion the problem usually drifts away on its own, but still.

7. World Events

I don’t care if I’ve done Brewfest a thousand times in my lifetime. I don’t even care that they removed virtually all the drinking quests (though they were fun, fuck you, P-12 rating!) and the only beer you get to pelt the attacking Dark Iron clan with is now alcohol free. I’ll be there every day, delivering kegs for tokens just so I can buy a grill. Or a flag. Or… sigh… a pet. You bet I’ll be flying around on a broomstick come Hallow’s End with my little Feline Familiar by my side, landing only to wade ankle deep through the candy buckets. I’ll be there next Winter Veil in my garish sweater singing traditional Winter Veil songs while wearing fuzzy warm socks and a winter hat and placing cushions all over Iron Forge so I have somewhere comfy to sit while I own my fellow players with my unbeatable little racing car. I mean, how do you spend your holidays?

8. The concept of it all

World of Warcraft is generally an amalgam of Earth’s most popular myths, taking bits and pieces from all over the world and mashing them up into entirely new things. For example, Night Elves are a mix of Chinese culture and the mythological amazons, Humans and Forsaken are general Central European, while Dwarves are a fun mix of Scottish and Norse culture. Likewise, some expansions are more on the nose about their origins. Northrend is very clearly inspired by Scandinavian and Canadian landscapes, and Scandinavian and Norse mythology. Pandaria is inspired by a number of Asian landscapes and mythologies, and some references are more obvious than others. And Blizzard just goes and ties them all together by the narratives of the Old Gods, the Titans, and the almost weekly demon invasions. I think this is part of what makes the game so great, the fact that you have something familiar and recognizable, but also something new. Humans generally like to hear the same story told over and over again only differently (think of romcoms or superhero movies, it’s the same damn thing with different names and different misunderstandings, but essentially it’s always the same), and Blizzard has a knack for that.

9. How else would I spend my weekends? Going outside? Among people?!

The flame wars in the trade chat are already more social interaction than I need or want. And you expect me to brace the same endless tirades in the real world? Where I’m required to wear pants or any article of clothing?! And were problems are not solved by wanton destruction of mine enemies?! Sounds like hell to me. In that case, I might as well play Diablo.

And that’s my own, personal, totally not biased reasons for still spending too much time playing this stupid time-consuming game. What are your excuses?

WoW Wednesday! Yes, This Is A Thing Now.

Because I had so much fun with my last World of Warcraft based entry I’m going to make this a semi-regular thing. At least until I get bored. Hope you’re ready to get down and nerdy! All you players, enjoy! All you not-players, prepare to be converted!

Today’s topic is…

Nine Things I Found While Flying Around Draenor

(May or may not contain spoilers for I don’t know, just play the damn game and stop bothering me.)

So I finally got off my ass and finished the damn achievement that allows me to use my flying mounts again. It was a long and gruelling task, but the pay-off was great. Free at last! And of course the first thing I did, because that’s what I always do, is hopping on my carpet and flying around Draenor. Literally around the entire continent. I love doing that! Do you even know the kind of things you discover that way?! It’s awesome!

The good thing since Cataclysm is that new continents are no longer closed off at the coastline as they still mostly are in old Azeroth, like Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. If you fly or ride around those places you generally see a lot of disenchanting rock and some grass. But since we got our old world flying permits in Cata, landscapes on the outer rims of continents became a little more whimsical.

Now, I love flying around places. I love it so much, back in the old days I’d stock up on Elixirs of Water Walking, climbed on my mount and went around the world like that. Obviously, this is easier with a flying mount. Even more obviously, this tradition had to be upheld with Draenor. And I found some stuff.

1.These random chairs in Gorgrond


 Who the hell puts chairs in the middle of fucking nowhere? Blizzard, that’s ‘oo. I had a good laugh.


2. Murdered Draenei

And just like that, I stopped laughing, because less than a hundred feet away:


3. This weird little cage with a skeleton in it


How? Why? Who? No idea.

4. This weird orc drinking with a skeleton in a cave in Talador


A cave full of booze. A lone orc. A skeleton. This is either the beginning of a love story or a really elaborate joke.

5. This pretty cave


Btw, if you click on the glittery flower in the middle it will attack you. Draenor, ladies and gentlemen: Where the mountains are huge, the plains are endless, and the flora is hungry.

6. Chillin’ with my new best friend Barney Farley, ogre dancer extraordinaire


You can find this guy in Nagrand near the Ring of Blood, putting on the ritz and a show.


7. This random island north of Highmaul


Okay, I don’t remember if this place is in any way relevant to the Highmaul raid (probably isn’t), but there’s an island. With skeletons on it. And a disappointingly empty cave.


8. This sweet old hermit and his dog


Just a sweet old man in the south of Talador, and while you’re here why don’t you help him with his little Iron Horde problem?

9. John and Yoko of Draenor


I mean, a pair of lovey-dovey Draenei having a picnic while talking about giving peace a chance? See what you did there, Blizzard.

And that’s all for this week. I’m not really sure what I’ll do for next week’s instalment, soooo it’s a surprise! (I hate surprises. I’m sure you do, too, but I’m mean like that.)

Nine Reasons I Thought About Quitting WoW

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person of the 21st century in possession of moderate fortune must be in want of a game that allows them to kill stuff. I, too, am fallen prey to the world of PC games, and there is one that always has me coming back for more: World of Warcraft.

But even though I’ve willingly been in thrall to this game for the better part of a decade now, it has me going round the bend at times. My relationship with WoW is a lot like those slightly dysfunctional on again, off again relationships of sitcoms: It’s the best expansion ever! It’s the worst expansion ever! There’s nothing to do! There’s so much to do! I love it! I hate it!I want to marry it! I want to hack my computer to pieces!

Ahem. Anyway, since I’m in a bit of a WoW rut again (and because I feel like this blog needs a new lil’ feature anyway) I thought I’d do a list of my personal, totally not biased reasons for coming thiiiiis close to quitting the thing entirely.

1. EES

What I like to call End of Expansion Syndrome. At the end of every expansion you usually hit a point where there’s just nothing to do for you. All the story lines have been completed, all raids have been raided, all the loot has been farmed, technically you could still run heroic but your guild somehow disappeared to this other server called Real Life and it’s just no fun without them, because raid browser? Nah. Sure, you can still grind rep, or farm ALL the gold, or become an achievement whore, or run through old content, or level alts, or… but somehow you’re just not feeling it. Maybe you’re just supersaturated. Maybe there is something to this Real Life thing. Whatever the case, you’re ready for something new. Only the next expansion will take For.E.Ver. to finally arrive. And who knows how good that will be. So you sigh, close the game, and try something else for a bit, all the while ranting all over the internet that WoW just lost its touch.

2. Sometimes WoW just raids your motivation to death

If there is one thing you can always do in WoW, it’s raiding. Now, I’m not a big raider anymore. My raid heyday was way back when in Lichking and Cataclysm. Because raiding isn’t fun without a guild, and my guild somehow acquired social lives (they still won’t tell me where that dropped). And the guilds you only join for the express purpose of raiding, they’re usually those super raiderinos who are really uptight about the whole thing. (Or maybe that’s just my rotten luck, but I’m never joining a raid guild again, ever, as long as I live and my server breathes… or something.)

Aaaanyway, coming back from that tangent… Yes, you can always raid, even during EES, but that’s precisely the problem, because suddenly there is nothing to do but raiding. At any other point during the expansion you can log on, check your mail, do a little quest, and log off after an hour so you can still get some sleep to go to your boring job that pays your monthly WoW fee. However, when there’s nothing to do but raid, which takes considerably longer than an hour, even if you’re running for the fiftieth time… okay, if I get home by this time I can log on, say, half an hour later, but the raid starts at X time, and actually I wanted something fancier for dinner than Red Bull and leftover chips, but it’s my turn to take out the trash, so that leaves me approximately 24 min. until starting time, and… But what if Legolaslol (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) is late again, and we’ll have no way of knowing whether he comes five minutes later or an hour later, actually, maybe that leaves me enough time to order pizza, but what if we start before the delivery arrives, I can’t just answer the door in the middle of the boss fight, though I mean, maybe they could handle forty seconds without me, but wait, if we finish by 11 pm I can still order pizza then, but actually I should be in bed because I have to get up at 6 am…

And if you only raid on weekends, what do you do the rest of the week? Level alts? Get them gear? So they can raid? Eeeehhh…

3. Everything is too hard… or too easy

Over time it’s become abundantly clear that Blizzard doesn’t have a balance spec. Either you get epics, mounts, quests, and raids thrown at you until you cry for mercy, or you have to break your back, sell your soul, your grandmas soul, and toil away well into the small hours of the morning just to get a tiny little smidgen closer to… get gear so you can run heroic dungeons. Which then last four hours because suddenly you actually need a plan to defeat the first boss that’s a little more sophisticated than “hit the thing until it stops moving”. On one side you find yourself pampered and growing lazy, longing for a bit of challenge because damn, are you bored. On the other you feel an overwhelming urge to bite apart your keyboard. Whatever the case, however, history showed us that people bitched about it. Which brings us to our next point…

4. People

It is a widely known fact that people ruin everything. Be it the kind of crazy raid guild that expects you to be available every day 5 pm to midnight, or just the idiots swarming the Trade channel, sometimes you just have enough of the social aspect of the MMO and yearn for the loving embrace of something a little more quiet, a little more solitary, and a little more peaceful, like, dunno, Diablo. So you retire to a quiet life on your Halfhill farm or your WoD garrison, where you lock yourself in your mage tower and refuse to see anyone. You might even go so far as to exploit a software glitch to put a big sign on the outer wall saying, “Keep Out, Humans Orcs I Don’t Care What You Are, Stay OUT!”

Not that I ever toyed with the idea or anything…

5. Lore

Lore is nice, lore is great, lore brings the game to life. Lore is also the most confusing shit ever, and not even the people writing it always have their facts straight, as evidenced by a little dwarf in a red shirt in Ironforge.

WoW, of course, has a lot of lore. There’s so much history in this entire thing you can read all the books and still need the Wiki page to somewhat stay on top of things. And woe betide you if you don’t, because when that happens it’s gonna fuck you up. Sometimes lore happens and suddenly the game is different. Blink, and Garrosh is your boss. Blink, and all the orcs are like, “Trolls go home!” Blink, and the old Tauren is dead. Blink, and Magni Bronzebeard is now a fashionable statue. Blink, and Theramore’s gone. Blink, and Jaina’s finally snapped. Blink, and there’s intrigue and treachery and murder and natural catastrophe (though that’s really rare and usually in some way or another dragon-related) and you sorta just missed it and now you’re just standing there like “Whuh? When did that happen? Who and what now?” And with your half-knowledge you stumble through your quests at the verge of tears because you want to know what’s going on but you know you can never read all those books because some of them? Are not all that well-written. And if you’re a literature buff, that will drive you batty. Exhibit A keeps typing.

6. You took away my dailies?!, or The Boredom of the Leisure Class

One of my main irks with Warlords of Draenor is the pitiable lack of daily quests. Ah, those were the days when you had a dozen factions, each providing you with a set of five or six dailies to complete, and you’d grind so hard your rep and gold would shoot right through the screen! But alas, no more. Now quest NPCs be like, kill those mofos over there until I say stop. Yeah, okay, you can collect some items, too. No, those are enough. No really, I’d rather you off some more orcish twits. Oh, you want some variety? Okay, go kill some Arakkoa mofos. Yeah, kill the entire world, I don’t care. Here’s your 1500 rep and a tip. Don’t spend it all at once.

No, you know, actually I’d rather be back in Pandaria flying on a kite watering fields even though 1) throwing pitchers of water from high up seems a very ineffective method of watering anything, 2) it rained last week, yesterday, and it’s literally raining right now. But that’s still more fun than breaking out the calculator and computing how many of every type of mob I have to kill to get a 100% on the progress bar.

7. The hell did you do to my Azeroth?!, or The Emotional Turmoil Of Change

I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t like change. Some update changed something in my e-mail inbox recently and I almost screamed. So I’ll just come right out and say that I was not thrilled when Cataclysm was announced. You’re just going to destroy my world?! Rip apart my beloved Ashenvale?! Change all the start zones?! Destroy the dam in Loch Modan?! Flood Menethil?! How could youuuuuu!

So after the initial shock I did the sensitive thing: I took my mount and did a great screenshot tour through old Azeroth before it was changed forever. And when Cataclysm rolled around, well, I wasn’t happy, but I acclimatised. Slowly. Over time. I mean, I still cried every time I entered Ashenvale. Or the Barrens. Or Stormwind where the park used to be. Or…. But by the time EES hit I had had a lot of sessions with a very capable bereavement specialist who now enjoys a nice and quiet life on the Maldives, and I had gotten used to everything.

I’ll never forgive Blizzard for putting me through all this, though. You’re toying with my emotions here, man!

8. My other fandom just released an MMO

Sometimes, you have a nice, stable long-term relationship with a nice, reliable person, bit rough around the edges but hey, who’s perfect? You have your routines, you know each others’ quirks, you’re comfortable with each other. But then, one warm summer evening you’re at a friend’s party and someone enters the room. Tall. Dark. Handsome. And he whispers… “I have a spaceship.”

And it’s a whirlwind romance of new and exciting things and you’re floating on a pink cloud thinking, this is the best ever, nothing else will ever compare, I’m never going back.

This is more or less what happened to me when SWTOR happened. Oh my stars and garters, it was like an exhilarating but forbidden affair. It lasted about as long as one, too. I mean, I love Star Wars. I love spaceships. I love bounty hunters. Now there’s someone offering me a galaxy far, far away that contains all my heart’s spacey desires. It just happened! It was just that one time (for a stretch of a few months)! But it meant nothing to me, I swear!

9. The Real Life server called

This is actually a legit reason to quit any game: Suddenly, there’s stuff to do, and it can’t be solved with pyroblasts. There are not many things that can’t be solved with a good pyroblast, so you know this is serious. Maybe you got a job. Maybe you got a family. Maybe you ran out of money. In my case, I was finishing a degree programme and decided, as much fun as it was to kill stuff, I really should do something with my life. Something more productive. Something that ensure I will be able to pay the monthly fees in the future. And thus, with tears in my eyes (not really) I hung my mage’s staff on a wall (figuratively speaking), hugged all my pets (okay, I actually did that), and rode forth into the sunset, through the portal and rejoined the magical kingdom of Real World. The quests really sucked. Graphics were okay. Bit grey, though.

And that’s why, at diverse dates, I almost quit my beloved game for good. And if you want to know why I still haven’t you need to stay tuned, this may become a regular blog thing. Cheers.